Hello guys, so I’m sure many of us have seen Drake’s little speech when presenting Rihanna with her award at the VMAs (2016); whether you watched the whole show or you’ve seen it around twitter and other social media platforms and if you haven’t, it might be worth checking out. He mentions how RiRi is the only person in the industry who has managed to keep her true self and that got me thinking. Luckily, I had written a post on this issue just days before and I thought why not share it during this “special occasion”…
I have a huge project I am working on about Drake’s journey from the little kid from Toronto to the superstar artist he is now. I am someone who is more interested in the artist behind the music which essentially involves understanding the lyrics and meaning to songs and that is what this blog is really about.
Now I want us to go back in time to our secondary school years, remember how in school we had the cool kids and the nerds and that underlying battle for who is better? Well I am convinced that the hip-hop world is quite similar.
I remember in secondary school when I first heard Drake and I was like I can really relate to this guy. He was so conscious about who he was and kept telling us his shit. I was like I am not the only “pussy ass nigga” in the world then; because man kept showing us he was soft and I was too and that gave me hope that you didn’t have to be a gangster to be big in the rap world. I was a big Wayne fan, man was a poet. But when Drake came around, I couldn’t resist the similarities we seemed to have and so I packed my things and moved to the Drake fan club. His “So far Gone” mixtape was the first complete album I ever had. I listened to this guy talk about his insecurities, air out his feelings and drop some heavy bars. He was a very good lyricist, he had bars and I felt he could take on most of the rappers that were active at the time.
Anyway, Take Care came and there is no album that represented who Drake was like that album. It had everything (the feelings and the bars), you could see he was this soft guy but still a great rapper and I respected that.
Now fast forward years later and man has completely changed. Well not completely but the change is quite drastic. I relate it to this young nerd in school who is thoughtful, quiet and soft. The type the ladies refer to as the good guy or the nice guy; he is just too good and too soft and then a new session starts up and he is totally different…rolling with the cool kids, dressing different, breaking the rules, trying to pick up more than one girl at the same time and he seems extremely confident. In my secondary school, they will say the dude has “stepped up”. That guy is Drake and the truth about those type of people is that they have become fake. They are no longer themselves, they might put up a front that they are all these things but deep inside they know it is just an act or at least in the meantime before the transformation becomes complete, if it ever does. This is what disappointed me most about Drake, for someone who seemed to take so much pride in knowing himself, this change changed it all for me. He had lost his originality. Trying to fit in instead of standing out. He had a gift that could take him above anyone and he blew it. The Drake that first came in had the potential to trump most rappers without breaking a sweat because he had the style (lovable sound) and was still conscious but he turned himself into one of the many. He now jumps on what is trending instead of starting the trend. He is now like one of those artistes who are just hungry for hits. He was someone that had his lane but allowed the world confuse him and now it seems like he doesn’t know who he is.
I listened to Views and in the beginning all I notice is confusion until midway through when he finally settles for a new Drake. I doubt he can ever release any song that will fit perfectly into Take Care, it’s all pop for Drake now. The lyrics in Views are appalling. There are no top bars, just flat lines that accompany incredible beats. His focus now is about just dancing and going through life as one of them and not being you. His music is like the new school trap music but without being trap music (it’s just about the beat and the flow and nothing about the lyrics. No conscious verses; just fun). He now has ghostwriters and to him it is not a big deal and that’s something I am disgusted about. To me having ghostwriters as a rapper is a taboo, if you can’t write your own lyrics as a rapper then what are you a rapper for? What makes a rapper a “king” is his lyrics and flows, how much of a wordsmith he is, so when none of those things come from you, you are just a puppet, a phony and definitely not a rapper.
There is a significant shift from “So Far Gone” to “Thank me Later” to “Take Care” to “Nothing was the Same” and finally “Views” and I am going to be using these albums to tell the story about Drake from my perspective. Whether you know it or not, every artiste especially in hip-hop tells their story one way or the other through their music. I will be using details like samples, lyrics, production, videos etc.
Plot Twist: Drake didn’t change and I don’t know him and he might be tired of people acting like they know him and saying crap.
But well this is just my opinion.
My thoughts in summary is just know yourself and be yourself. The world is corny, today it seems everyone is against you but once you stay true to yourself you will be amazed how many people want to be like you and respect you.
(Co-authored by Mint & Cheryl)